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Opinion – COVID-19 infected EU seriously challenges the vision of a Cyber Europe and the fight against cybercrime

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The EU also appears to be currently infected by the COVID-19 virus. In the terminology of physicians or virologists, this is probably a serious case that will have to spend some time in the emergency room. It was and is frightening to see how quickly the EU community has disintegrated in the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, the abolition of the Parliament in Hungary and the establishment of a quasi-dictatorship without any serious EU actions and/or sanctions has perfectly demonstrated how sick the community really is. The COVID 19 crisis has mercilessly exposed the weakness and fragile status of the EU.

No United States of Europe

While in the United States a national effort has been made across all states and political parties – not always smoothly – to fight the negative socio-economic impact of Corona, the EU remained silent and instead disintegrated into national actionism. No effective EU guidance or supranational position was recognizable for the EU citizens. The COVID-19 crisis hit the EU hard after the refugee and Brexit crisis. In this respect, the reestablishment of a reasonably functional EU will probably consume months if the job can be accomplished at all. The question, therefore, arises as to whether the EU Cybersecurity Act and the ENISA mission to fight cybercrime, for example, will actually be able to be implemented. We doubt that at this stage!

RIP Cyber Europe?

The EU has labeled the desired cybersociety as EU Cyber Europe or CE in short. ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity and its fight for cybersecurity and cybercrime are to play a major role in this development. In summer 2019, the EU Cybersecurity Act was passed, which will serve as a basis for ENISA to develop an EU cybersecurity framework. A first (small) step in the right direction but far too little for an efficient fight against cybercrime.

For an effective and efficient fight against cybercrime, the borders of the jurisdictions of the EU member states must become more permeable or supranational law enforcement (LE) based on the model of the US FBI must be created. Bureaucratic hurdles in the area of cooperation between national LE must be removed. Cybercrime knows no borders, the law and LE unfortunately does.

But in the post-refugee crisis, post-Brexit and COVID-19 reality of the EU, it looks like national borders are being reinforced again. This is good news for cybercriminals and sad news for consumers and citizens.

Without an effective and efficient fight against cybercrime, there will for sure not be a functioning cybersociety and thus no Cyber Europe. Given the current state of the EU, it must be questioned whether Cyber Europe and the coordinated EU-wide fight against cybercrime can actually take place. We have massive doubts about this and time is of the essence here.

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